Advertisement

Borough to raise natural gas rates

February 10, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council on Monday voted to raise rates on natural gas service for the first time in 14 years, an increase that will go into effect after the worst of the winter weather has passed.

The increase will not reflect the frequent fluctuations in the cost of natural gas, which the borough buys wholesale to resell to its approximately 5,000 customers, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said. Instead, the rate increase of 7.5 percent will be for operating and improving the system, as well as continued transfers from the department to the borough's general fund.

Since the early 1990s, the borough has spent $4 million replacing eight miles of decades-old cast iron gas pipes with plastic ones, Oyer said.

"If we're going to continue to improve the system, this absolutely has to be done," Oyer said.

The 7.5 percent increase translates to about a $7.30 a month increase for a residential customer, Oyer said. The average monthly gas bill is now about $88, he said.

Advertisement

The increase, which the council approved unanimously, would go into effect with gas service bills sent out on or after April 28. A proposal to increase rates was in the 2009 budget, but required the council to amend an ordinance before it could go into effect.

By the time the increase takes effect, Oyer said most customers will be seeing natural gas bills decrease due to warmer weather and lower consumption for heating. At the same time, this winter saw the wholesale cost of natural gas remain "about flat" compared to a year ago, he said.

In addition to paying for operations and improvements, the Gas Department budget calls for a $365,000 contribution to the general fund in 2009. The department budget lists $315,000 in capital improvements in 2009, including gas line work on U.S. 30 and at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|